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January 27, 2024
Robert Burns Supper
American Legion Hall
206 S Stockton Ave

April 2024
Tartan Day

May 2024

June 21, 2024
Campbell Scholarship Mini-Golf Tournament
4307 Coffee Rd.

October 2024
Modesto International Festival

October 2024
Central Valley Highland Games & Celtic Festival
Stanislaus County Fairfounds
900 N Broadway.

October 27, 2024
Kirkin O' the Tartan
Trinity United Presbyterian Church
1600 Carver Rd.

October 2024

November 2024
St. Andrew's Day

December 2024

Piping at the Mansion
The McHenry Mansion
906 15th St.


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Highland Games

Be sure to attend the

34th Annual Modesto Highland Games
& Gathering of the Clans

Saturday June 6th 2015

Tuolumne River Regional Park
Modesto, California

Click here for more info

History of the Highland Games

In the 11th century, King Malcolm III of Scotland summoned contestants to a foot race to the summit of Craig Choinnich. King Malcolm created this foot race in order to find the fastest runner in the land to be his royal messenger. Some have seen this event as the origin of today's modern Highland games.

During times of English occupation, the men of Scotland were forbidden to bear or train with arms. Scots continued to train for war; they simply did so with the implements of war replaced with the implements of the Highland games.

Heavy Athletics

Photo by John Nelson

Caber Toss

The athlete balances a long tapered log vertically, holding the smaller end in their hands. They then run forward, attempting to toss it end over end, with the larger bend hitting the ground first. A perfect toss is achieved when the smaller end lands at a 12 o'clock position, relative to the direction of the run. If successful, the athlete is said to have turned the caber.

Photo by John Nelson

Putting the Stone

This event is similar to the modern-day shot put. A large stone (16–22 lb stone for men or 8–12 lb for women) is thrown with one hand. The stone rests cradled in the neck until the moment of release.

Photo by John Nelson

Scottish Hammer Throw

A round metal ball (weighing 16 or 22 lb for men or 12 or 16 lb for women) is attached to a 4 foot long handle. The hammer is spun around the athlete's head and thrown for distance.

Photo by John Nelson

Weight for Distance

There are two classes of this event; the light event (28 lb for men and 14 lb for women) and the heavy event (56 lb for men, 42 lb for masters men, and 28 lb for women). The metal weights have a handle attached either directly or by means of a chain. Only one hand is used. The longest throw wins.

Photo by John Nelson

Weight for Height

An attempt is made to toss a 56 pound weight over a high bar using only one hand. Each athlete is allowed three attempts at each height. Successful clearance of the height allows the athlete to advance into the next round at a greater height. The competition is determined by the highest successful toss with fewest misses being used to break tie scores.

Photo by John Nelson


Shinty is older than the recorded history of Scotland. The game was traditionally played through the winter months, with New Year's Day being the day when whole villages would gather together to play games featuring teams of up to several hundred a side, players often using any piece of wood with a hook as a caman. The ball was traditionally a round piece of wood or bone, sometimes called a cnapag, but soon developed into the worsted leather balls used today.


Photo by Stephen's House of Photography

Pipe Bands

The music of the bagpipe has come to symbolize Scotland itself. The most memorable is the massing of the bands, where all of the pipe bands march and play together during the opening and closing ceremonies.

Photo by John Nelson

Celtic & Irish Trad

Listen to a variety of traditional and modern day Celtic music. The instuments played vary, and may include; Fiddle, Harp, Banjo, Hammered Dulcimer, Guitar, Pipes, Penny Whistle, and Bodhran, among others.


Photo by John Nelson

Scottish Country Dancing

Country dancing is a social dance and is performed with other dancers in a group. Modern day square dances are evolved from country dances.

Photo by Stephen's House of Photography

Highland Dancing

This form of dancing is highly technical and very competitive, requiring many hours of practice. It has more in common with ballet than with the social dancing of the Scottish Country Dance. Highland dances are performed solo, and are judged on technique and costume.

Clan Tents

Photo by Stephen's House of Photography

Finding Your Roots

Various clan societies make the Highland games their main focus and appear at as many events as possible. Visitors can find out information about their Scottish roots and can become active in a clan society if they wish.

Click here for more information about Highland Games, Wikipedia.org